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Old 03-21-2010, 08:20 PM   #1
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Idea to increase living space

Ok, so my RV seems a bit small sometimes, especially with a family of four staying in it for the majority of the year. Too late to use my idea now (unless I want to do some serious retrofitting), but here's something I thought of. Maybe someone out there's already done it, if so please let me know.

Our RV was a bookmobile with a wheelchair lift on the side. Any bus with a wheelchair lift on the side would be ideal (assuming that the floor is completely level at the lift as the rest of the bus...if the floor's lower and a ramp's used, it could be a bit of a pain but I dunno).

The idea is to get a trailer that you can use to haul your car (or truck, van, suv, atvs, whatever) in. Preferably the vehicle you're towing is capable of towing as well. This trailer would be basically converted into a toy hauler. You'd need a good floor, roof, at least two sturdy walls (one for the front, one for the side...other side could be temporary while you're going down the road), and some kind of door in the back (gotta be big enough for the vehicle to drive in). Maybe the door folds down and doubles as a ramp, I dunno, but you get the idea.

So basically, once you're ready to setup camp, here's what you'd do. You'd drive the vehicle off the enclosed trailer, then drop the trailer, and hook the vehicle up to the trailer. Now either park the RV first and then get the trailer right next to it, or vice-verse. You'd need to get it pretty darn close. Some kind of mounting system would "permanently" attach the trailer to the RV. Open up the wheelchair lift door (hopefully you've figured out by now that the wheelchair lift itself should have been removed), and you've got access to a large addition. Perhaps you can have some bunk beds fold out from the wall. A large flat-screen tv in the very front. A couch that was stored up front but you can drag to the back. Dining table can fold out from the wall. Lots of possibilities.

Might get some raised eyebrows at the RV park, but I don't think it'd take up much/any extra space than a higher-end RV with slide-outs on both sides (figure the trailer would be about 8' wide, and if a slide-out can be 4' on each side, that'd end up being the same space used). This is why I say the wheelchair lift should be on the side. If it's in the rear it could still work, but you'll just be increasing the length (and will probably end up being too long for any rv site). Definitely not something you'd want to take on a weekend trip, but if you're going to be staying for weeks (or months, or years), I think it'd be worth the hassle.
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Old 03-21-2010, 10:13 PM   #2
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Re: Idea to increase living space

Double wide baby!!!!

I think it's an idea worth some merit...I like it. I'm curious about what others will have to say.

Thanks for sharing!
Ben.
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Old 03-22-2010, 12:15 AM   #3
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Re: Idea to increase living space

I've seen lots of RV's towing regular trailers for the kids (usually teens). Gives Mom & Dad privacy and the kids have their own bathroom, TV etc. The largest family we saw doing this had 4 kids aged about 10 to 17yo. The older kids watched over the younger ones. I have to admit... these were some well-behaved, responsible kids in a close family.
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Old 03-22-2010, 03:31 AM   #4
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Re: Idea to increase living space

Quote:
Originally Posted by lornaschinske
I've seen lots of RV's towing regular trailers for the kids (usually teens). Gives Mom & Dad privacy and the kids have their own bathroom, TV etc. The largest family we saw doing this had 4 kids aged about 10 to 17yo. The older kids watched over the younger ones. I have to admit... these were some well-behaved, responsible kids in a close family.
True, but that won't work for us for a few reasons. Oldest kid is 3, so it'll be a while until he can start watching the others. Another thing is a lot of places make you pay extra if you have more than one unit. Plus they might charge extra if you need to store a trailer, tow dolly, etc. (though I guess if they thought a tow dolly would distract from the ambiance too much, they might not like a converted rv or a trailer attached to the side).

So I was thinking...how can I get extra living space without having to build slide-outs (or worse, buy a really expensive RV)? I noticed a lot of people in Australia who have caravans (their word for campers, RV, whatever) have an annexe. When they're going to stay in one spot for an extended period of time, they setup this temporary building right off of their caravan (I'd say construction would be similar to a steel storage shed). Some annexes are permanent (and the caravan virtually is too), but that's beside the point. Then I thought "wouldn't it be nice if..." and there's the idea.

Now that I thought about it some more, I'd probably go ahead and have three sturdy walls all around (not including the rear door). If we need to make a quick trip to an RV park with full facilities, we can just tow the trailer. Even when we're setup at a place semi-permanently, if I have the trailer parked on the outside (so I can hookup without moving the RV), I could take that on any side-trips. Any longer trips where we need a built-in bathroom, we'd take the RV or the RV+trailer. When combining, just put some sort of roof over both (where the gap would be), and have some way to quickly seal the door area.
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Old 03-22-2010, 06:55 PM   #5
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Re: Idea to increase living space

How about an "add-a-room" to combine with your awning? Just a thought.

http://awningoutpost.com/index.jsp?c...4&productId=69

Solid door for a Carefree Add-a-room
http://www.dyersonline.com/Products/...rce=googlebase
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Old 03-22-2010, 07:31 PM   #6
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Re: Idea to increase living space

Quote:
Originally Posted by lornaschinske
How about an "add-a-room" to combine with your awning? Just a thought.

http://awningoutpost.com/index.jsp?c...4&productId=69

Solid door for a Carefree Add-a-room
http://www.dyersonline.com/Products/...rce=googlebase
I think that'd be good for long weekend trips. Don't think it'd work out for semi-permanent living. What if a bad thunderstorm came through? Would it be hard to heat in the winter/cool in the summer? Are the walls strong enough to support a wall-mount for my 50" plasma?
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Old 03-22-2010, 09:04 PM   #7
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Re: Idea to increase living space

Okay, I'm confused... are you parked in a campground or are you on private land (your's or leased)? Will the following work for you?


This was on my MEN 1980's CD. It was also on their webpage NOTE: DO NOT SEND $$ TO THE ADDRESS LISTED!!! Bunzer is also the RV Doctor (see link below).
http://www.motherearthnews.com/Do-It...RV-Chalet.aspx

These links are the same RV Chalet by the original builder (he sells plans).
http://www.rvdoctor.com/2004/11/rv-c...wo-worlds.html
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Old 03-22-2010, 09:50 PM   #8
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Re: Idea to increase living space

Quote:
Originally Posted by lornaschinske
Okay, I'm confused... are you parked in a campground or are you on private land (your's or leased)? Will the following work for you?


This was on my MEN 1980's CD. It was also on their webpage NOTE: DO NOT SEND $$ TO THE ADDRESS LISTED!!! Bunzer is also the RV Doctor (see link below).
http://www.motherearthnews.com/Do-It...RV-Chalet.aspx

These links are the same RV Chalet by the original builder (he sells plans).
http://www.rvdoctor.com/2004/11/rv-c...wo-worlds.html
Our needs for an RV are to be able to stay in a different location for at least three months at a time. So far I stayed at a Mobile Home/RV Park in Houston, TX for three months; and was a Camper Host for the Anchorage School District in Alaska for four months.

That's why I thought of the idea (but, of course, well after our conversion was completed). Use the pull-behind trailer to tow our van. Use it for extra living space attached to the RV. Setup and break-down might take about an hour extra, but would be worth it if you're staying months at a time. If I were just starting out...I could use the nearly $1,000 spent for a tow dolly to go towards building the enclosed trailer I describe.

The chalet you linked to seems to be a fancy version of the permanent annexes in Australia. You have a small building with a roof that extends over a caravan (camper) that's right next to it. It's all connected to be one big area. Their version of a mobile home?
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